SAN FRANCISCO — Frozen drinks are taking center stage among Yelp’s top food and beverage trends for 2023. The restaurant review hub utilized search data on its platform from 2021 and 2022, primarily popular keywords and phrases, to determine its top 10 picks for next year.
With “slushie” searches up 77% in the last year, both non-alcohol and inebriating frozen drinks are expected to dominate consumers’ orders when dining out. Common staples include margaritas, fruit-flavored slushies and pina coladas.
Dry beverages occupy multiple spots in Yelp’s top 10, including mocktails and michelagua. Non-alcoholic cocktails saw a 59% increase in searches, and celebrities have begun to capitalize on the growing interest by launching their own mocktail brands. Actress Blake Lively opened Betty Buzz, a low calorie, sparkling mocktail line, in September 2021 followed by supermodel Bella Hadid’s Kin Euphoric mocktails line that launched in June 2022.
An alternative to cerveza-based micheladas, “michelaguas” have seen a 62% increase in searches. Primarily served with flavor options such as mango, pineapple or cucumber with lime, michelaguas are made using beer substitutes and agua fresca.
Other popular beverages in Yelp’s predictions include dirty sodas, a combination of soda, cream and flavored syrups, and teas made from hojicha, a plant used to a create sweet, lightly roasted variety of Japanese green tea. Searches for both beverages increased 40% and 38%, respectively.
Pickle flavors are expected to see several new applications on shelves and in restaurants, including pickle martinis and pickle ice cream, with pickled food searches up 55%.
Interest in nostalgic tastes is also on the rise, particularly with fast food. The revival of classic fast food meals such as the McRib has led fast food searches across Yelp to increase 90%.
Dishes featuring oxtail have seen an unexpected spike in popularity, jumping 45% between 2021 and 2022. As the name suggests, oxtail is made using meat from the tail of cattle and is a common ingredient in many dishes across South America, Asia and Western Africa. It has become increasingly featured on menus at festivals and food trucks.
Closing out its top trends, Yelp expects a rise in consumers looking for entertainment as part of their dining experience, with terms like “underwater restaurants” and “dinner theaters” seeing an uptick in searches of 263% and 109%, respectively.